Itís perfectly acceptable to ask your prospective lodger for references, either from people who know them, from previous landlords or from their bank.
Although there are certain questions which can tell you a lot, much will depend on how well you get on with the person. If you have any doubts, donít say yes.
When you interview your prospective lodger, make out a checklist of questions before you start talking. Here are some guidelines on what to ask.
Interests: itís usually a good idea to find out about a lodgerís hobbies before they move in, or you may find you have a keen violinist practicing until all hours!
Friends: itís unusual nowadays to stop people inviting their friends to the house, but if it worries you, make it clear youíre not keen on late-night parties, or people staying the night without prior warning.
Smoking: if you really canít bear smoke, you must make it clear that you donít allow any smoking in specified rooms of your home.
Pets: find out whether the lodger has any pets or intends keeping them Ė your own lease, if you have one, may stop you keeping animals in the house.
Payment: once youíve agreed on a rent that suits both sides establish a regular payment system, perhaps through a bank standing order.
Chores: work out in advance how youíre going to share the household chores. You may choose to be totally responsible for cleaning, in which case you should take account of this in assessing the rent. However, many house-sharers prefer to work on a rota basis.
House rules: if youíre too dogmatic about what your lodger can and canít do, youíre unlikely to have a happy relationship. But you can and should set some house rules in the interview if certain things are particularly important to you.
Future plans: itís worth asking how long your lodger intends to stay, so you can plan ahead if itís only going to be for a short time.
Questions to Ask Your Landlord / Landlady
Itís difficult to live with someone you donít know. Itís worth spending some time speaking to your landlord / landlady Ė especially with the aim of finding out the house rules Ė before you make up your mind if you want to stay there or not. Make a checklist of questions before your interview. Here are some guidelines on what to ask landlords / landladies.
Friends: some are fairly strict about friends who come to the house. You need to find out whether friends can visit you in your room and secondly whether they can stay the night or not Ė although not many landlords / landladies are likely to allow this.
Housework: you need to establish whether you are expected to do any housework beyond keeping your room clean. If you are expected to contribute to the housework, then you might be able to negotiate a reduction in the rent.
The Bathroom: Many people are very possessive about their bathrooms. You need to establish if there is any particular time when you can or canít use the bathroom. Make sure you find out how often you are allowed to have a bath.
The Kitchen:the same rules apply for the kitchen. It is quite reasonable to expect to be able to use the kitchen to cook your own food. Itís either that or a permanent diet of take-away pizzas and kebabs!
Noise: Are there any rules about playing your stereo at certain times? Also, can you watch the house TV?
The Telephone: Itís vital to get this one right! A lot of arguments have occurred because the rules about the telephone havenít been properly understood. Find out if you can use the telephone for outgoing calls and what the system of recording and paying for these calls is. Does your landlord / landlady mind if other people ring you at the house? Up to what time?
Smoking: Again, itís hopeless thinking you are going to get on if one of you smokes and the other doesnít.
Rules of the House
- You will be issued with your own keys, but these must not be given to anybody else.
- It is forbidden to listen to music or watch television after 10.30.
- You are only allowed one bath a day. This must be taken between 6.00 pm and 8.00 pm.
- The kitchen can only be used before 8.00 am and after 7.30 pm.
- Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the house.
- It is strictly forbidden to have parties in the house.
- Lodgers are expressly forbidden to have friends to stay overnight.
- You may receive incoming calls only.
- You are requested to bring your own sheets and towels. Blankets will be provided.